Ah, rain barrels, you delightful bastards. A rain barrel has to be my absolute favourite addition to our home and garden. We have three of these beauts, and every year it brings me closer to a rain harvesting system. If you don’t have a rain barrel for your garden – get one! Stop using the hose, and you know, the water we need to live, and start using that water that falls off your roof. Collect it and keep your plants happy! Plus, your water bill will go down…for those living off of trucked in water (that’s us!) or a well, a rain barrel, or five, can help when any drought hits.
A rain barrel may be perfect during the summer months, but what do you do with it when the weather starts turning cooler? A small frost won’t hurt them, especially if you’ve a half full – full barrel…that water isn’t going to freeze just yet. We put our barrels away mid-late October, depending on how the year is going. Just watch the weather and take it in once it starts to freeze outside, turning that light frost into a medium or hard frost. You can also just take it in once your garden is out if you’re not trying to water trees and fill a pond back up like I am.
Make sure your barrel is completely empty. Use the rest of the water to water perennials and trees, then dump it or keep the tap open to empty the rest of the water. You may need to turn the barrel upside down to get all of the water out as it sometimes will accumulate at the bottom, below the spigot.
Wipe it down.
This is a step I rarely take because I’m lazy as fuck, but I should be doing it every year. My rain barrel gets covered in spider webs and all kinds of dust. Give it a wipe down so it’s nice and clean to use next year, cleaning out the gunk that may be sitting on top of the trap, building up from your rain spout(s).
Store your rain barrel somewhere you won’t be bumping into it, like up high in a garage or in a shed. If it’s properly emptied, then there should be no reason for fear of cracking, which is why the first step is the most important!